Microdisney

Microdisney was an Irish sophisti-pop band that released the 1984–85 Rough Trade albums Everybody Is Fantastic and The Clock Comes Down the Stairs, followed by the 1987–88 Virgin titles Crooked Mile and 39 Minutes.

Members: Cathal Coughlan (vocals, keyboards), Sean O’Hagan (guitar, harmonica), Mick Lynch (bass, 1980-83), Rob Mackahey (drums, 1980-83), Ed Flesh (bass, 1983-87), Tom Fenner (drums, 1983-88), Steve Pregnant (bass, 1987-88), James Compton (keyboards, 1987-88)


Background

Microdisney started as a Cork-based combo formed by singer-keyboardist Cathal Coughlan and guitarist Sean O’Hagan.

Coughlan (1960–2022) hailed from Glounthaune village and partook in the new wave scene in nearby Cork, where O’Hagan (b. 1959, Luton, England) migrated as a teenager. They met at a 1979 New Year’s Eve party.

Micro Disney (initially styled as two words) played their first shows in 1980 as a five-piece with bassist Chris McCarthy, drummer Dave Galvin, and second guitarist Giordai Ó Laughaire. On August 30, they performed as part of a multi-act event at the Downtown Kampus at Cork Arcadia. One number from their set, “National Anthem,” appears on the 1980 EP Kaught at The Kampus, released on Irish indie Reekus Records with cuts by Mean Features, Nun Attax, and Urban Blitz.

In 1981, Micro Disney performed throughout Ireland with the rhythm section of Mick Lynch and Rob Mackahey, who later surfaced as the singer and drummer (respectively) of the London zolo band Stump.

In 1982, Coughlan and O’Hagan signed as Microdisney to Kabuki Records, a London-based indie with a small roster of new Irish talent, including Kissed Air, Operating Theatre, Rueflex, and the Nun Attax-spinoff Five Go Down to the Sea?


Kabuki Singles

On October 1, 1982, Microdisney made their vinyl debut with “Hello Rascals” backed with “The Helicopter of the Holy Ghost,” both Coughlan–O’Hagan originals.

A. “Hello Rascals”
B. “The Helicopter of the Holy Ghost”

Microdisney cut both sides at Dublin’s Alto Studios with early U2 soundman Dave Freely, who also engineered 1982 singles by Stano and the Zen Alligators. “Hello Rascals” sports an off-green sleeve designed by The Twilight Set with bovine imagery by photographer Mark Baker, both credited on early sleeves by Liverpool contemporaries The Pale Fountains.

On March 21, 1983, Microdisney released their second single: “Pink Skinned Man” backed with “Fiction Land.”

A. “Pink Skinned Man”
B. “Fiction Land”

Microdisney recorded both sides at Alto Studios, where Freely produced “Fiction Land” and colleague Terry Cromer (a later member of U2’s management) oversaw “Pink Skinned Man.” Kabuki distributed the single in the UK via Rough Trade, which signed Microdisney in mid-1983 upon their relocation to London.

Peel 1 Recorded: 1983-08-03. Broadcast: 10 August 1983. Repeated: 24 August 1983, 22 December 1983
Sleepless / Moon / Sun / Before Famine

Peel 2 Recorded: 1984-01-14. Broadcast: 23 January 1984. Repeated 07 February 1984.
This Liberal Love / Escalator In The Rain / Dolly / Everybody Is Dead

Peel 3 Recorded: 1984-04-14. Broadcast: 01 May 1984. Repeated: 17 May 1984, 06 June 1984
Dreaming Drains / A Friend With A Big Mouth / Teddy Dogs / Loftholdingswood


Everybody Is Fantastic

Microdisney released their debut album, Everybody Is Fantastic, in May 1984 on Rough Trade.

A1. “Idea” (2:53)
A2. “A Few Kisses” (3:16)
A3. “Escalator in the Rain” (3:36)
A4. “Dolly” (3:20)
A5. “Dreaming Drains” (2:49)
A6. “I’ll Be a Gentleman” (3:32)
A7. “Moon” (3:02)
B1. “Sun” (3:14)
B2. “Sleepless” (2:35)
B3. “Come on Over and Cry” (3:06)
B4. “This Liberal Love” (3:15)
B5. “Before Famine” (3:43)
B6. “Everybody Is Dead” (3:08)

Cathal Coughlan — vocals, keyboards
Sean O’Hagan — guitar, harmonica
Ed Flesh — bass
Tom Fenner — drums

John McKenzie — bass (A4, B6)
Terry Stannard — drums (A4, B6)
Jonathan Fell — bass (B4)
Producer – Steve Parker

Jun 1984
A. “Dolly”
B. “This Liberal Love”


We Hate You South African Bastards!

In October 1984, Rough Trade issued We Hate You South African Bastards!, a compilation of Microdisney’s 1982–84 pre-LP material.

1. “Helicopter of the Holy Ghost” (3:53)
2. “Michael Murphy” (2:08)
3. “Love Your Enemies” (3:12)
4. “Fiction Land” (2:28)
5. “Pink Skinned Man” (4:08)
6. “Patrick Moore Says You Can’t Sleep Here” (2:23)
7. “Hello Rascals” (2:46)
8. “Pretoria Quickstep” (4:50)
9. “Loftholdingswood” (5:30)
10. “Teddy Dogs” (3:28)
11. “464” (5:58)

Peel 4 Recorded: 1984-10-02. Broadcast: 10 October 1984. Repeated: 30 October 1984, 14 November 1984
Genius / Horse Overboard / 464 / Goodbye – It’s 1987


In the World

In March 1985, Microdisney released In the World, a fifteen-minute EP with thee unique Coughlan–O’Hagan originals.

A1. “Loftholdingswood” (5:33)
A2. “Teddy Dogs” (3:33)
B1. “464” (5:53)

Sessions occurred in January–February 1985 in London, where Microdisney recorded the EP as a five-piece with keyboardist Nick Montgomery.


The Clock Comes Down the Stairs

Microdisney released their second proper studio album, The Clock Comes Down the Stairs, in November 1985 on Rough Trade. Composed By – Coughlan*, O’Hagan* “Begging Bowl”, “Horse Overboard”, “Past”, “And” 8D 

A1. “Horse Overboard” (3:53)
A2. “Birthday Girl” (4:08)
A3. “Past” (4:29)
A4. “Humane” (3:07)
A5. “Are You Happy?” (5:24) Vocals – June Miles-Kingston
B1. “Genius” (4:20)
B2. “Begging Bowl” (5:36)
B3. “A Friend With a Big Mouth” (3:25)
B4. “Goodbye It’s 1987” (4:12)
B5. “And” (4:21) Vocals – June Miles-Kingston

Producer, Engineer – Jamie Lane
Engineer – Ian Morais

Bass – Ed Flesh
Drums – Tom Fenner
Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica – Sean O’Hagan
Vocals, Keyboards, Other [Plastic Pubis] – Blah Blah (Cathal Coughlan)

Saxophone – Richard St Jeffe
Viola – Geoffrey Richardson

Sleeve – Baker Dave
Sleeve [Produced At] – Assorted iMaGes
Photography By [Front Cover] – Felicia Cohen

Sep 1985
A. “Birthday Girl”
B. “Harmony Time”

Peel 5 Recorded: 1985-12-03. Broadcast: 11 December 1985, 13 January 1986, 27 January 1986
Town To Town / Bullwhip Road / People Just Want To Dream / Begging Bowl

Peel 6 Recorded: 1986-07-27. Broadcast: 06 August 1986. Repeated: 17 September 1986, 30 December 1986, The Peel Sessions Vol.8, The Peel Sessions Vol.10
Armadillo Man / Half A Day / Soul Boy / And He Descended Into Hell


Crooked Mile

Microdisney released their third album, Crooked Mile, in January 1987 on Rough Trade.

1. “Town to Town” (3:21)
2. “Angels” (3:44)
3. “Our Children” (4:33)
4. “Mrs. Simpson” (3:54)
5. “Hey Hey Sam” (4:21)
6. “Give Me All of Your Clothes” (4:03)
7. “Armadillo Man” (3:05)
8. “Bullwhip Road” (3:39)
9. “And He Descended Into Hell” (3:45)
10. “Rack” (4:30)
11. “Big Sleeping House” (3:04)
12. “People Just Want to Dream” (5:20)

Tom Fenner — drums, percussion, backing vocals
Steve Pregnant — bass
Cathal Coughlan — lead vocals, keyboard, flexatone
Sean O’Hagan — guitar, harmonica, backing vocals
James Compton — keyboards, accordion, backing vocals

Lenny Kaye — producer, backing vocals
Bill Gill — tambourine, recorder
June Kingston — harmony vocals
B.J. Cole — pedal steel (A3), lap steel (A5)

Jan 1987
A1. “Town to Town”
A2. “Little Town In Ireland”
B1. “Bullwhip Road”
B2. “Genius”

Oct 1987
A1. “Singer’s Hampstead Home”
B1. “Brother Olaf”
B2. “She Only Gave In to Her Anger”


39 Minutes

Microdisney released their fourth and final album, 39 Minutes, in April 1988 on Rough Trade.

1. “Singer’s Hampstead Home” (4:02)
2. “High & Dry” (3:03)
3. “Send Herman Home” (4:04)
4. “Ambulance for One” (3:26)
5. “Soul Boy” (5:05)
6. “Back to the Old Town” (3:14)
7. “United Colours” (3:18)
8. “Gale Force Wind” (3:58)
9. “Herr Direktor” (3:42)
10. “Bluerings” (3:55)

Vocals – Cathal Coughlan
Bass Guitar – Crazy Johnny Nancy
Drums – Tom Fenner
Guitar [Guitars], Banjo, Harmonica – Sean O’Hagan
Keyboards – James Compton

Guitar [Pedal Steel] – B.J. Cole (5)
Backing Vocals – Fabulous Golden Showers
Backing Vocals – George Chandler, Jimmy Chambers, Jimmy Helms (7)
Brass – The Kick Horns (7)
Vocals – June Miles-Kingston (10)
Composed By – Coughlan, O’Hagan
Engineer – Bill Gill
Producer – Jamie Lane

Feb 1988
A. “Gale Force Wind”
B. “I Can’t Say No (Betty Lou Version)”


Discography:


Sources:

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